World Cup - Argentina

Lionel Messi speaks out after Argentina lose to Saudi Arabia

Tom Gott
Messi could not believe what happened
Messi could not believe what happened / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

A devastated Lionel Messi admitted Argentina could have no excuses after they fell 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their World Cup opener.

Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot early in a first half which saw Argentina have three goals ruled out for offside, before Saudi Arabia turned the tide after the break and roared to a stunning victory.

After the game, Messi could not hide his disappointment.

"We're dead," he said. "It's a very hard blow.

"We didn't want to start that way. We wanted to win, to give peace of mind. There are no excuses. Now, it's the time to focus on strength and the unity of the group. It's time for us to be more united than ever. It's time to calm down.

"It's a hard blow, a painful defeat. We have to keep trusting ourselves. Let's try to beat Mexico to see how the group turns out."

Assessing the game, Messi admitted Argentina came out the blocks too fast and couldn't keep up.

"We had chances and we had many offside opportunities," he said. "We made a mistake of speeding up too much. We knew they would play with a high line. We sped up a little, but after, we started to clutter up, lose functionality and lose the midfield battle.

"The goal early in the second half confused us. We couldn't find the game we had been showing for a long time. When the game went on, with the result against us, it became more difficult."